I understand that you are replacing Scoutbook.com with enhanced IA2 functionality, to modernize the system. However this is especially painful because Scoutbook.com was developed by an end user, and was therefore a user-centric tool. For all the talk of enhanced architecture, your architecture can’t create or result in effective user-centric design, if the design is lacking sufficient input from actual users… Do you have end users involved in design requirements, user stories, testing or signoffs? Users who are actually using this tool to enter actual Service, Hiking or Camping activities?
I must say that you are lucky that due to COVID there are less activities being entered in right now. My bet is that there would be significant uproar right now had so many summer camps and activities not been cancelled! Leaders would be trying to enter activities, and doing it correctly, but not obtaining the intended result due to system design issues and bugs.
I just spent several more hours entering 20+ nights of Camping, 20+ miles of Hiking, and Service hours, all from over the course of the past 2 years. Several issues I highlighted about two months ago are resolved, but other major items seem to still be present Here is my previous post on similar issues. I know that my use case is not the ideal use case, but nevertheless it has shed light on a number of issues:
Page loading takes FOREVER Whether accessing through the Scouting App, or the IA2 website, even on a high speed connection, page loads are slow. It seems to be a data load or a database issue. (I would not want to try the app over cellular.) You hide it a little by having the screen paint early, but the data lags several seconds prior to loading. This is also evident when you make an addition to the log, as the success message loads, and then you need to wait several seconds for the screen to redraw.
Calendar loading takes a long time Similar to above, when you click the plus icon to add a Campout, Service, or Hiking activity to the Activity Log, the calendar spins for several seconds, as the calendar checks to see whether there are any activities on the Calendar today. I believe this is another manifestation of the database issue above. Presumably it is checking the current date to see whether there are any activities on the calendar. However, even if there are no items on the Calendar, the page takes a long time to load, which would indicate a database response time issue, not data load time.
State entry under Address To enter the State for the Address of an activity (same for Camping, Hiking or Service) text entry is not allowed. You can use the mouse to select, or you can Tab then up or down arrow and then Enter. I should be able to press the first letter of the state name or abbreviation and have it scroll to the item. Page Up and Page Down also do not work in the scroll box. I admit that my state is near the end of the list, but even when I lived in Connecticut, I would enter the state by tapping the C key three times (California, Colorado, Connecticut …) Please save me from carpal tunnel syndrome and make your input KEYBOARD FRIENDLY.
Calendar Start Date issue Text entry is allowed for the Start Date, however it is a non-standard date format, The Date format used in the Activity Logs is a non-standard date format. It is MM(space)(slash)(space)DD(space)(slash)(space)YYYY. Why? What kind of date format is that??? For the sake of those of us who prefer keyboard rather than mouse entry, can you please use a standard format?
Once I figured out the non-standard date format, I am now able to successfully enter a Start Date by typing. I acknowledge that I am in the process of entering data for youth who recently transferred to my troop, so I am entering activities from the past. As you can never assign participants to future activities (a design decision I agree with) I imagine that entry of past activities will continue.
P.S. As you made it so (for now) IA2 Activities cannot be deleted (huh?) there are several leaders who have now been conditioned to not enter activities in IA2 until AFTER the avctivities have already occurred.
Calendar End Date issues Text entry doesn’t seem to work in this field, neither through typing the dates nor copy and paste in this field. They do not work. You must use the mouse to browse to the appropriate date and click it. (see item below on recommendation for different default END date)
Calendar End Date Entry Default Date
I would request (strongly) that you make the default date for the End Date box be the same date as the Start Date, rather than the present date
This box does not work consistently. My guess is that you are doing some sort of DB call in the midst of the entry here. Pressing Tab after entering a value here does not register the value at all, ever. (In contrast, the address field entries commit with Tab.) Sometimes I click the next address field and must click back on this field or I will have a blank under Location. In order to commit the Location value, the ENTER key usually works. However, sometimes I need to hit ENTER multiple times. It seems there is some data load operation taking place and it lags sometimes. The end result is that I usually need to enter my value twice, or enter it, then select it, which is dual entry.
Wrong Dates - what time zone are you trying to force events to be in? CDT? WHY?
This is still a MAJOR issue, and it cascades into all sorts of unintended consequences, such as campouts longer than they actually were, or on the wrong days. The end result is that I need to enter the date both when I create the activity, and again when I am assigning scouts and leaders as participants. (Dual entry … user-centric design will avoid that)
I can tell that you still have the same issue in the Service Log, even though you only ask for a date, without a time. In the back end on the Service activities, that you are assuming an All-Day Event, but once registered in the database, it shows up as an event that was normalized to central standard or central daylight time.
There should NOT be a time zone. The only relevant time zone is the zone where the Key 3 are entering the item. Something in the database is trying to translate and resolve the dates and times into Central Time Zone. JUST STOP. PLEASE. IT IS CAUSING ISSUES!
If I use the ALL DAY Event, then it assumed a 12am -11:59am Central schedule for my activity. It therefore makes my Mountain Time Zone activities begin ONE DAY SOONER. It makes all one night campouts count for two nights.
If I don’t select the ALL DAY, but enter actual start and end times, when the activity is committed to the database, the interface displays it back to me IN CENTRAL TIME (huh?) one hour earlier than everything happened.
WHY HAVE A TIME ZONE AT ALL? Don’t query my computer for what time it is or what time zone I am in. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT MY TIME ZONE IS. All times for Activities should be absolute. Fine if you want to mark it as CST or CDT for the sake of the database, but then assume that my local time is also the same CST or CDT and there is no need for any date/time translation. I get you want to use notification with calendar items, but then take into account my system time or the time zone with EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE FOR MY TROOP AND ACTIVITIES. If you are going to translate, make sure you can UN-translate it. It is not like my troop and the chartering organization are going to move. You could use a fixed value for my troop time zone offset … so if you need time zone, DO IT RIGHT FROM THE USER PERSPECTIVE, and make it consistent.
EVERY TIME I create an activity, I need to edit it when I am adding participants because of your failed attempts at time zone translation.
Date for specific items in the Activity Log should be ACTIVITY DATE not APPROVED DATE
When I am reviewing the details in an Activity Log for a Scout, you are displaying the APPROVED DATE for the Service, Hiking or Camping activity. In the History, please display the Start Date, or Display both Start and End Date. Once approved, the approval date is irrelevant. In the example below, you can see from my title that these campouts happened at different times, but the approval date is not helpful here.
You have covered a lot, but you had me at a few very good points:
- old system was user centric, the new is something else
- the new system is supposed to be modern and flexible and supportive, but clearly is NOT based on the very poor results - the time to fix and missing features speak for themselves
- the “new and modern system” is slow and crummy
It seems that all that it is supposed to be it is not.
Clarifying a little on #9 above, I would recommend that the summary of each activity in the log display the following (like in the white space on the right hand side):
- Name of activity
- Campout: calculated number of nights
- Hike: number of miles
- Service: number of hours
- All three: start date of activity
User story: whether viewed by a leader or a youth, and regardless of whether the log is for the activities of a leader or a youth, the relevant information for each entry in an activity log should be summarized in the list view of the activity log.
The summary for all activities should include the Name of the activity (currently included), and the Start Date of the Activity (NOT currently included). Depending on the activity, there should also be a summary of the relevant metric information as follows (NOT currently included):
- Campout: calculated number of nights
- Hike: number of miles
- Service: number of hours
In my humble opinion, having working in information technology for years a while back, it appears that IA2 has not been well thought out, not been discussed with users, not been well tested and I fear I can’t say anything else about it. I’ve tried so many times to work with it that I quit each time. It’s lost data during the transition. It’s difficult to add data. It’s virtually impossible to correct errors that someone enters. It’s difficult to audit the data because you can’t review and change the day in the same place. I hope someone has donated their time to do all this work because I’d hate to think that we are paying for the work that’s been done thus far. I’m really sorry if I’m sounding unkind, but m frustration level with this application has hit wit’s end.I’m almost at the point of recording everything in an excel spreadsheet until the application is competed and tested and ready for use.
I’m sorry to hear about your frustration level. In my experience, it’s worked with zero problems. I don’t know what the difference between your situation and mine is that makes for such completely difference user experiences.
I feel the same way, and have a degree in the field too. I have have quit using IA 2.0 and no one will use it anymore in my unit. Just as you sugested I am recording all our service hours on an excel spreadsheet since we no longer can log them into the JTE site either. My unit will be Gold this year and I can prove we did the service hours, but it will not be logged into IA 2.0. If BSA is paying someone for this terrible product they need to get their money back. In the meantime give back logging to Scoutbook, and if you want to pursue IA then it need a ton of R&D.
I feel exactly as you do. My units have decided to use Excel for tracking everything and will enter a single entry for service hours for JTE at the end of the year.
I’m in IT as well and this is a prime example of taking a great user friendly product and making it useless. When people are walking away from a tool that many were moving to, someone really needs to re-think what they are implementing and asking those users why.
You are required to run the gauntlet of IA2 to get credit for the service hours. I assume your unit can still get gold with 0 in that area?
Matt, Yes for Cub Scouts the Service Hour entry is easily achievable if you plan it into your Pack meeting or activities. I do not need to run the gauntlet as it is not required to use any BSA software, and it is still possible to run units old school by hand if need be.
Ironically it is National who get hurt the worst, as one hour of service logged by a scout, if entered then could be 60 scouts in my pack, and four packs in my district, and 20 packs in the council, then 6 councils in the region, 4 regions, are all (272 Councils) compiled up giving helping to give bronze, silver, and gold to each level. Yet when BSA reports to Congress to recharter showing the number of service hours that the scouts have preformed nation wide is huge, but with a broken IA 2.0 they (National) will not get those numbers this year.
Actually, to even get Bronze in the service project section, one HAS TO enter the hours into the website. So, yes, you do need to use BSA software. That was my point, can your unit get gold with a zero in that section?
It’s possible to get gold without using the JTE website – we’ve managed it for the past 4 or 5 years.
I haven’t had any problems with the new activity trackers (knock on wood), so I would think hitting gold level would be even easier this year.
I just print out my JTE score card, I sign it as CC, my Cub Master signs it and my Unit Commissionaire signs it and we turn it into District. BSA software is not mandated it is simply provided to make things easier, but when they make things harder then why use the software?
Actually, for that section, to get any points, it is required. “Troop records service projects and hours on JTE Website.” If that box isn’t checked, none of the service project hours “count” towards a units JTE. So, if you are not using the BSA software, one can’t in good trustworthiness get anything but a zero for section 8 “service projects” on the scorecard. So, yes, it is a mandated part of the scoring.
I guess we will have to disagree. Not logging the event on an official BSA site is not a lack of trustworthiness, especially when all the sites are broken and inoperable. I find that questioning the veracity of scouts logging conservation hours because they were not logged officially on a BSA offensive. Our scouts unfortunately are doing a lot of hiking, camping and service hours that are no longer being recorded what-so-ever because it is now to difficult, and it is not the scouts issue, no they are doing their best it is BSA who is not doing their best to support scouts. Ironically the error has been created by BSA, literally it is impossible to follow the JTE as BSA will no longer allow logging service hours into JTE website. JTE score card does not ask to log the events into IA 2.0. I am sitting on 100’s of hours documented service hours for my Pack this year, and I can not log any of them so I have it all recorded on an excel spreadsheet just in case any one wants question my integrity. I am asking everyone to log events in excel, until IA 2.0 is scraped and we can go back to the JTE website and using Scoutbook.
The scorecard doesn’t allow one to get any credit for the hours unless logged on the website. The current JTE website is IA 2.0. The trustworthiness side is the scorecard only allows one to get credit for that section if logged on the BSA site. So, no logging on website, no credit.
We have large and active boys and girls Troops. Our experience with the switch to the new IA2 activities tracking tool has been abysmal. We have spent hours just trying to log activities for several scouts whose data was lost during the transition, and have given up. The system is slow, prone to throwing errors that require you to back out and go back in, logs the dates incorrectly (as mentioned in the original post) and is frankly unworkable. We are going to use a spreadsheet for the time being and hope that someone on the BSA systems team hears us and gets to work on fixing the system. Or, better yet - let us use ScoutBook again.
Matt, How foolish is it question a person’s integrity when BSA shut down the JTE Conservation hours reporting site and required everyone to use IA 2.0 which is trash and does not work? Unequivocally, categorically beyond any reasonable doubt, my Pack will get full credit for their service hours, exactly for the reasons listed that BSA closed reporting to the official JTE website, and it is impossible to use IA 2.0.
Everyone, I highly suggest to make an excel spreadsheet and record your hours there until BSA can scrap IA 2.0 and give solutions back to Scoutbook or JTE website.
To get credit, you have to log it on their JTE website. The current JTE website is Scoutbook/IA2. If you take credit for the service hours, you are having to agree that you have logged them. If you take credit and don’t log them on the website, you are not being trustworthy. At my place of employment, checking that box even though you haven’t logged them would be considered falsification of company records and an automatic termination.
Just stop. You are never going to change each others minds so just stop commenting.
The BIG question is are they still working on fixing the bugs? I am still fighting with IA2 to track the items needed for awards and meeting of requirements.